The U.S. is considered the evil perpetrator in the eyes of the Nazi children fleeing Allied occupation in Aussie director Cate Shortland’s latest film “Lore.” The script is adapted from Rachel Seiffert’s bestselling novel “The Dark Room.”
In the aftermath of the this year’s election, American audiences should pay attention to this fable, which focuses on themes of trust and tradition, exposing the blind prejudices that can be smuggled inside a nation’s most treasured principles.
When asked in an interview what happens in her film, the director answered, “It’s about when you find out the people you love and the community you trusted lied to you.” Shortland is challenging us to examine our hand-me-down beliefs through the lives of four orphans torn from their homes in war. The children of racists become apt samples of racism in general since infantile phobia is at the bottom of it all.
Accompanying these innocents in the wild, Shortland invites her audience to assume a role. Parents are missing from their lives so the story naturally triggers instinct. We can’t exert any influence, but, with a massive assist from gifted Aussie DP Adam Arkapaw (“Animal Kingdom”), we hide with that underage troupe in the open, under the elements, feeling as vulnerable as they do.
With a deft directorial touch, the boy/girl relationship at the center of this film becomes shorthand for the breaking down of self-limiting beliefs that keep prejudice in place. Shortland’s tale affirms that no single race, age group, culture or country can pretend to be “übermensch”–, but it also shows how when the human race pulls altogether, it can be pretty über.
“Lore” is Australia’s nominee for Best Foreign Film at the 2013 Academy Awards, so this is a polished production all around. Like last year’s festival favorite, “Monsieur Lazare,” (2011), it delivers amazing performances from child actors.